According to the Vestibular Disorders Association, 80 percent of people 65 years old and older have experienced dizziness. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV, the most common vestibular disorder, is the cause of approximately 50 percent of dizziness in older people. Overall, vertigo from a vestibular problem accounts for one-third of all dizziness and vertigo symptoms reported to health care professionals.
The symptoms of chronic dizziness or imbalance can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life, and unfortunately, by the time many of these patients receive a diagnosis, they have seen five or more health care professionals. So if you suffer from a dizziness or balance problem, who should you see for treatment?
Audiologists Have Extensive Training in Hearing and Balance Disorders
There are many health professionals who can diagnose and treat dizziness and balance problems. Audiologists must undergo extensive training in hearing and balance disorders and the mechanics of the inner ear and vestibular system. For this reason, their background and education make them an invaluable resource in finding a safe, effective treatment for problems with balance, dizziness, lightheadedness, and vertigo.
What to Look for in a Vestibular Audiologist
The Vestibular Disorders Association recommends you look for the following qualifications when searching for a vestibular audiologist.
The audiologist should have a doctoral-level degree (Ph.D. or Au.D.) with additional training in vestibular assessment and treatment. Look for an audiologist with a practice focused on vestibular patients.
In addition to basic audiometric equipment (audiometer, tympanometer, otoacoustic emissions), vestibular-focused audiologists have special equipment that can evaluate and assess eye movements and balance.
3. Professional Associations:
There are a number of professional organizations for audiologists, including the American Academy of Audiologists (AAA), American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), American Auditory Society (AAS), and the American Balance Society (ABS). All are reputable and support the audiologist in development and training opportunities.
4. Practice Experience:
Does the audiologist’s practice focus on vestibular patients and how many years of experience does the audiologist have? Are they a part of an audiological team, or are they associated with other specialists they can consult with?
Associated Audiologists Has a Vestibular Audiologist
Living with vertigo or balance issues can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Many have found the right treatment to manage their symptoms or, in many cases, resolve these issues altogether. All you have to do is take that important first step: schedule an appointment with a vestibular audiologist.
Danielle Dorner, Au.D., FAAA, Vestibular Audiologist, specializes in diagnosing and treating vestibular disorders at Associated Audiologists. She practices specifically with dizziness and balance patients. In addition, Associated Audiologists is the only private practice in the Kansas City metro area with the technology necessary to diagnose dizziness and balance problems promptly and accurately.